Monday, April 7, 2014


Untitled (work in progress)
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
I know it's hard for non-artists to understand,
but sometimes it's hard for artists to go into the
studio -- to get down to work, to face whatever
current project we've dreamed up for ourselves.

I am sure there are rare cases of compulsive
nine-to-five, or seven am. -to-eleven p.m. art
makers, but by and large we do the job because
we want to have fun.  And when we don't feel like it
we need to trick ourselves.

So the seduction I'm speaking of isn't the kind
you're thinking of.  It is the kind voice of a
parent offering a trade.  Do this for one hour
and you can have -- a cup of hot chocolate,
a walk, 20 minutes with your novel.
Working on it -- also on the easel
Moving along (slowly)
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
For me the starting stage of a painting is
exciting, but very quickly I am in the thick
of it, and perhaps the seduction is giving
myself permission to work in a different order,
or start on the smile, or eyes, or detail in the
hair, which makes no sense.

But like the wise parent with a reluctant child
doing the dishes, or like the teacher with
a distracted student, I allow myself to think
that every step is a step, whether logical
or not.
Untitled Stage One (work in progress)
On the easel -- drawing and starting the 
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 30 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
The top photo shows where I've got to
on this one so far.

Have a seducing-yourself-into-work day.


Wendy Barrett said...

Wow Barbara! This portrait just leaps off the screen! It is stunning! I've just been looking through your blog (found you via Sally Chuppick) and your work is amazing!

cohen labelle said...

This is a beauty! I love her hair, her twinkly eyes, her joyous smile, flesh tones, background.
You must have superb concentration or you couldn't have done this and when your concentration wanes then it's definitely time to take a breather and pick up a book.

love, Marcia said...

I relate to this post more than I can put into words. Here's to tricking ourselves into the studio, with brush in hand. The painting is coming along beautifully!! xoxoxoxo

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Wendy,

I'm glad you found me. I've been looking at your blog too, and I'm very impressed. Wonderful work, and you're a writer too.

Awesome. Thank you so much.

XOXOXO Barbara

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Marcia,

The other thing that works is doing other chores -- office work, tidying. Pretty soon I'm back in the studio because you know what? It's more fun painting! Thanks so much.
Can't wait to get a new novel. I'm reading on my iPad now. Not the same at all.

Love, XOXOXOXO Barbara

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Belinda,

Thanks so much. I try to break it down, step one, step two, next step.
That way I don't completely freak about the overall task. Plus it feels more like play.

Love your work,


Catherine Jeffrey said...

Your "seduction" obviously works! This is a wonderful piece. The colours, the sun, the smile..all good.

Barbara Muir said...

Thanks so much Catherine. I am happy with how it's going. Almost there.

Love your work.
XOXOXO Barbara

Unknown said...

This is looking spectacular Barbara! Love the vitality in this portrait, the hair is awesome. I think most artists know exactly what you're talking about..I do the same thing...tell myself i have to wait for a cuppa until after an hour in the studio...then before I know it 2 hours has gone by and I forgot all about that cuppa, I'm having so much fun.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Sally,

I love it when what you've described happens -- getting lost in it. I probably have four cuppas to your one. Movies in the background, or CBC holds me there.

Love your work,

XOXOXO Barbara

Laurel Daniel said...

I LOVE this piece… just gorgeous!!! And I can so relate to your process of enticements… and usually if I can seduce myself into the first marks, it's enough to suck me in. Yes, here's to creative seduction! XOXO

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Laurel,

Thank you so much. I think you're right -- if I've started working, thinking about it will be a pull when I leave the studio. (My studio is in my house, so I can't get very far away.) Love your work so much, and
congratulations with your awards and sales!


Kim Rempel said...

Jumping up and down for you! Wow, this is spectacular Barbara. It just leapt out at me - so much vivid colour and sparkle. Dang, you're on fire!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Kim,

You're on fire for sure. Thank you. I am happy with how this series is going. This young woman is amazing -- a very talented photo journalist and is the same person as the young girl in my very first blog, in the before the dance series. It's very moving to see her growing up.

XOXOXO Barbara

Flora Doehler said...

Barbara, this painting sings! And so do you!!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Flora,

Thank you. You are adorable. ;-)

Here's to singing together this summer!!!

XOXOXO Barbara

Karen Bruson said...

This one is my favorite.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Karen,

Thank you so much. She is a wonderful young photo journalist and great person. Glad you like the painting. I'm happy to say that all three are my favorites -- favorite people!

Love your work.


Portrait Artist

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I paint and draw on commission and for shows. To commission a portrait, or purchase one of my paintings please contact me at:
A major highlight in my career? Drawing Oprah Winfrey live via Skype for her show "Where in the Skype are you? Galleries: Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto, Canada. The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York City. Gallery at the Porch Door, Kingston, Canada. Your positive comments on this blog mean the world to me. I'd love to hear from you!